No significant damage to Southwest 717 in collision incident

Washington DC
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Southwest Airlines says there has been no significant structural damage to a Boeing 717-200 that was involved in a collision with a catering truck at Milwaukee airport on 4 October.

The AirTran-branded 717, registration N894AT, is now in maintenance and Southwest has said the work will be completed later this month.

There is no "significant structural damage to the airplane", says Southwest chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven in an earnings call today.

The National Transportation Safety Board described the damage to the aircraft as "substantial" in a preliminary report. The 717 sustained the damage after a catering truck struck it at the production splice joint, where the midsection connects to the forward fuselage. The catering truck's driver had told investigators that he could not stop the truck because a beverage can became lodged behind his brake pedal.

The repaired aircraft is due to be handed over to Delta Air Lines as part of an agreement with Southwest to transfer all 88 717s inherited from its take-over of AirTran Airways.